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Home :: Archive :: 2003 :: January ::
Re: Claudius' Incestuous Marriage
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.0142  Tuesday, 28 January 2003

[1]     From:   Robin Hamilton <
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        Date:   Monday, 27 Jan 2003 17:31:13 -0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.0127 Re: Claudius' Incestuous Marriage

[2]     From:   John E. Perry <
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        Date:   Monday, 27 Jan 2003 23:44:17 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.0115 Claiudius' Incestuous Marriage


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Robin Hamilton <
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Date:           Monday, 27 Jan 2003 17:31:13 -0000
Subject: 14.0127 Re: Claudius' Incestuous Marriage
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.0127 Re: Claudius' Incestuous Marriage

John W. Kennedy <
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 > writes,

>L. Swilley <
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 > writes,
>
>>Have I missed something here?  Claudius' marriage to his brother's wife
>>is forbidden above all by the fact of his having killed her husband to
>>marry her. (That was part of his motive for the murder is stated in
>>Claudius' confessional soliloquy.)  That being the motive for the
>>murder, marriage with this widow can never be either licit or valid.
>
>Yes, this is also true (though it is a point of canon law that most
>people are unaware of).

Isn't there an elision here?  I thought the deceased-husband's-brother
prohibition was canon law (both Catholic and Protestant) while
no-profit-from-murder was (English) common law.

Not that much difference, I suppose, as Claudius losses on both counts.

Robin Hamilton

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John E. Perry <
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Date:           Monday, 27 Jan 2003 23:44:17 -0500
Subject: 14.0115 Claiudius' Incestuous Marriage
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.0115 Claiudius' Incestuous Marriage

Since no one else seems to have picked up on it, I'll have to point out
a flaw in

David Friedberg's reasoning:

>...Deuteronomy 25:5-10
>
>"If brethren dwell together, and one of them die, and have no child, the
>wife of the dead shall not marry without unto a stranger; her husband's
>brother shall go in unto her . . . And if the man like not to take his
>brother's wife . . . then his brother's wife shall come unto him in the
>presence of the elders, and loose his shoe from off his foot and spit in
>his face . . . And his name shall be called in Israel, The house of him
>that hath his shoe loosed"
>
>It is quite clear to me that Claudius was quite innocent in this matter,
>behaving as the Lord wished.  I don't know if WS would have commented if
>Claudius like Onan had spilled his seed on the ground.

But Claudius's brother did not die without a child, so this Scripture
cannot be used as an attempt to justify Claudius's marriage.

John Perry

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